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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Historic Little Mount Holly Nestled In Wayne Township

Dallas Bogan on 23 July 2004
Dallas Bogan, Warren County, Ohio and Beyond (Bowie Maryland: Heritage Press, 1979) page
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

There is a little town that lies in Wayne Township in the northern half of the County known as Mount Holly. It is located just off U.S. 42 near the Greene County line. Like other small towns it has its own history. Jacob Pearson laid out Mount Holly in 1833; the town consisted of 25 lots. The original name of the town was "Shattersburg."
Earlier history finds the Buckles family purchasing land and settling in the locale in 1797. They had originally lived at Columbia in 1790, a town along the Ohio River, now a part of Cincinnati. There were five girls and four boys, their names being; Robert, William, John, James, Mrs. Henry Simmons, Mrs. Culbert Watson, Mrs. Edward Dyer and Mrs. John Heaton. One of the girls never married.
A small stream named Bear Branch ran through the Heaton farm. The highlight of this name was the fact that Heaton once, while hunting, shot a bear from a tree near the stream, the bear falling into the stream. Thinking it dead, he hustled to the area and started to stick it with his knife. The bear suddenly sprang up and lunged at Heaton, thus giving him a fight before the bear was finally killed.
The vicinity of Spring Valley, just north of Mount Holly, had the only tillable land within the locality of the early settlers. Their cabins were some distance away and it was a chore to keep the Indians, bears, squirrels, etc., from destroying their crops.
The Buckles family had no means of trading except a small log cabin, which had been built and used as a store in the village of Waynesville.
The first house built at Mount Holly was a log house. It was the congregating place for the women with their washings. John Everhart, who was a brick maker and mason, built this house. He moved to Waynesville from Cincinnati in 1806. Having walked the entire distance, he related his passing of a band of Wyandotte Indians encamped at Cold Springs below Waynesville. The Indians, because of ceding their lands some years ago to the Government, were apparently searching for new hunting grounds. It was not unusual in that period of time to see large bands of roving Indians. Mrs. Ellen Marlatt, when a mere youngster, remembered seeing a band of four hundred pass through Mount Holly. The old chief and squaws stopped at a tavern in the settlement and ate their dinners. William Rye remembered seeing the same band camped below Waynesville and states that the old Chief was very sick and died before reaching Cincinnati.
John Everhart, after leaving Waynesville in 1808 or '09, built a cabin on the Edward Hartsock farm. He resided there until the building of the house mentioned at Mt. Holly.
Jackson Allen, from Virginia built the first milldam and saw mill in 1814. While building the dam Allen caught the ague and spoke of leaving the area and returning to Virginia. His friends tried to convince him to stay, revealing to him a cold water cure. Catching him at the mill one day with a chill coming on, they gave him a rigorous ducking. Without reason he got well and gave up all cause to return to Virginia.
John Satterthwaite bought a mill site in 1819 from Robert Huston, upon which he built his gristmill where the more recent Marlatt mill stood. The masons and millwrights for this mill came from Mt. Holly, N.J. The burrs for it were brought by packhorses over the mountains; they were brought in sections and were put together and banded here. The farmers had formerly gone to Waynesville to have their grinding done, but now they could do it locally. A Mr. Heaton was the first Miller, thence being succeeded by Alexander Hayslip.
Satterthwaite and Hayslip entered into a contest as to who could raise the largest hog. Each contestant picked a pig from a stock known as the "English." After a period of time two enormous hogs evolved. Satterthawaite's hog was claimed the winner, weighing in at its death at 1400 pounds. It was shown throughout the United States and then shipped to England.
A man named Elliott took over the mill after Mr. Hayslip. Stephen Cook then bought the property and held it until 1843. Riley Brinker was one of the millers and was employed by the different owners in later years. The mill then passed from Mr. Cook to John Kinney, and then to Mr. Pence. A time period from 1845 to 1868 registered a large business at the mill. The business was so good that some of the old-timers said that traffic was backed up for almost a mile waiting their turn. In the meantime a distillery had been added.
Samuel Ellis built a one-story house in 1823 for the purpose of a blacksmith shop. Other early blacksmiths succeeding him were Everhart, Clingan, Weller, Caldwell, Hartsock and Doron.
John Morford built a pottery about the year 1825, its operation being very successful for a number of years.
About this same time John Githens constructed a wagon shop.
Near the site of the Marlatt mill, a Mr. Patter, with Levi Frazer being in his employ, built a mill called the Fanning Mill Manufactory in 1830.
Jacob Pearson was the first storekeeper in Mt. Holly. His store stood on old Main Street. Other early store and grocery keepers have been Watson and Taylor, Grant, Hill, Fox, Holcomb, Craft, Frazier and Carey.
The Pence house was a tavern between 1840 and 1850. Noah Jones also had a tavern in 1823 known as the "Black Bear." The identity of this tavern was portrayed by a large black bear painted on a white board.
The old stage roads had run west of town until the pike was built in 1839. Subsequently, with the new road being built, Mt. Holly was allowed the advantages of the stagecoaches and team traffic through the village. Tavern keeping was then launched into a great enterprise.
The post office was moved from Transylvania (near Spring Valley) to Mt. Holly in 1843. The early postmasters were: Samuel Hill, 8 March, 1843; Peter DeHaven, 7 March, 1844; Aaron Mintle, 26 June, 1845; Josiah Craft, 29 July, 1845; George Sims, 4 September, 1861. The post office was discontinued 20 April 1863.
The coopering business was established in the early history of the town. Among the first coopers were John Everhart and sons, Nathan and Emanuel; and George Sims and J.W. Marlatt.
John Everhart was alleged to have invented the endless chain, since used in different kinds of horsepower. His claim was made in 1834; its purpose was to be used in the cooper business, but before the patent could be confirmed, it was stolen from him. Aden Haines had a successful saddle and harness business, which was later, carried on by Foster Ward and William Cornell.
David Wilson lived on a farm south of Mt. Holly and worked the cobbler business for the neighborhood. George Mayer, a Methodist minister also worked at the trade.
Jacob Pearson, the founder of the town, was the Methodist preacher in the town and vicinity. Jacob's wife, Rebecca, is buried in the old cemetery on the former farm of Jesse Hartsock. At one time there was an old church on the grounds called Bethel.
Mrs. Ellen Marlatt attended this church in her childhood. She remembered being in the church at the time the first train ran on the Little Miami Railroad; the minister at that time was Joseph Hill.
The preacher and the entire assembly rushed to the scene and stood and watched the train in bewilderment. Some thoughts ran rampant even to the point of this being a wild animal. All agreed that it ran fast enough to cause a wind to blow.
The first school in the town was held in about 1830; the location was in the building of John Githens. George Sims who at that time was a cooper, a tavern keeper and was an avid huckster taught it.
John Sims and his wife were among the other early settlers; he built his home in 1829. Other early settlers who helped establish Mt. Holly were: Hoover, Clevenger, Smith, Cornell, Hartsock, Archer, Jones, Vetter and Gretsinger.
Possibly the most prestigious person to visit the little village of Mt. Holly was Coates Kinney, the world-renowned poet. He was born November 24, 1826, at Kinney's Corners, near Penn Yan, Yates County, New York. He was the second son of Giles and Mira Cornell Kinney. The Kinney family moved, in 1840, to Springboro, Ohio. In 1842, the family moved to a house on the road from Waynesville to Ridgeville. Young Coates attended Ridgeville School, the school apparently triggering in him an uncanny desire for learning. At this time he was learning, with no inner satisfaction, the trade of coopering. Perry Staley, being his instructor, saw in this young boy an attitude for learning. Staley started bringing books for the young lad to read, rather than seeing him working at the boring trade of coopering.
He later started work in the sawmill at Mt. Holly. His mind seemingly wandered while in the employment at the mill. It was this wavering that caused him to lose this job.
Kinney obtained an education and eventually taught school at Mt. Holly.
"Rain of the Roof," one of the best-known poems at the time, was reportedly written at Mt. Holly by Coates Kinney. Kinney says: "I slept one night next the roof in the little farm cottage which our folks lived in....In the evening there came up a gentle rain, which patted on the shingle roof two or three feet above my head...Here I lay and conceived the lyric and then went to sleep. It haunted me next day, which was bright and green and glorious; and on a walk from Spring Valley to Mt. Holly I composed most of the poem. It was the easiest production I ever wrote."

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This page created 23 July 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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